The Liturgy of the Word on this Sunday opens somberly with the Godly Servant being crushed for sins. The second reading speaks about the sinless One's sympathy for ever-present human weakness. The Gospel chastises the disciples for already sinful leadership in the Church. The subject of sin colors the Word of this Sunday. In fact, sin is Christ's number one issue.
This is no surprise. At the very beginning, Genesis itself teaches about the first sin being the root of all subsequent human devastation. No wonder, then, that when Jesus goes public in his preaching, his first word is "repent." In the Eucharist, the whole Christian community hears the reason for Jesus' death in the consecration of the chalice: "for the forgiveness of sins."
Sin is a decision to think, speak, act or live contrary to the Word of God. Put simply, it is a choice to do evil rather than good. The consequences are enormously negative. For the sinning person, personal integrity diminishes, even gets destroyed. Sin leaves communities of family, friends, co-workers weakened, heading down the road toward disintegration. Sin makes human society go unjust and violent. Sin destabilizes the planet, exposing it to eventual ecological disaster.
Sin is something to take very seriously.
We begin the "Year of Faith." Faith is not a "magic carpet" to heaven. It is a decision to surrender to God in one's life by dying in order to rise. But die to what? The answer is provided by conscience, the inner voice that speaks two stinging words: "right" and "wrong." To grow in faith is to courageously choose right over wrong. A "Year of Faith" cannot not take sin seriously.
Sunday Eucharist is the community celebration of being saved by the One "who takes away the sins of the world."